TN govt controls nearly 40,000 Hindu temples in TN, says plea; SC issues notice

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy challenging a Tamil Nadu government order giving control of nearly 40,000 Hindu temples to the state.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy (IANS)
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy (IANS)

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on a plea by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy challenging a Tamil Nadu government order giving control of nearly 40,000 Hindu temples to the state.

A bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia issued notice on Swamy's plea also challenging the M.K. Stalin government's law allowing the appointment of non-brahmins as archakas at the temple. The plea challenged various sections of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, passed by the Tamil Nadu government.

"By exercising its powers under the various provisions of the Act, the respondent government has taken over nearly 40,000 Hindu temples in the state Of Tamil Nadu, in utter disregard of the rights of the Hindus in the state to profess, practice, and propagate their religion", said Swamy's plea.

It further added that the government servants appointed under the Act, exercise various functions, including directly or indirectly appointing archakas to these temples, in disregard to the customs followed in these temples or the agamas governing these temples.

The plea submitted that if a person who is not well-versed with the rituals, agamas, and methods of worship governing a temple, is appointed as its archaka, it would amount to changing the religious character of the place of worship, which is ultra-vires Section 3 and 4 of the Places of Worship Act, 1991.

"The petitioner submits that appointment of archakas and the roles of archakas in temples do not fall within the definition of secular activity. The petitioner further submits that even if the same is considered to be a secular activity, it cannot be taken over and carried out by the government and can only be performed by independent trustees of Hindu temples and religious institutions," added the plea. (AA/IANS)

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